U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, chairman of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee will be the Feb. 17 speaker for the Agri-Business Council of Wichita.
Roberts was born in Topeka, graduated from Holton High School and went on to earn his journalism degree from K-State. For 16 years, he represented the Big First District, including his home of Dodge City, in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1996, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. He is currently serving his fourth term.
Senator Roberts becomes the first member of Congress in history to have chaired both the House Agriculture Committee and now the Senate committee. He has also served as the ranking member of each committee.
As a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, Roberts gives Kansans increased leadership on legislation ranging from taxes to trade, health care, Medicare, Social Security, the aviation industry and transportation – issues impacting all Kansas families.
Roberts recognized the biosciences industry developing in Kansas starting in 1996 and has looked for ways to enhance its development to promote an industry that has tremendous potential for growth, will keep Kansas’ best and brightest in Kansas and will make Americans safer. Roberts has been recognized as a leader in food and biosecurity. He held the first hearings on the issue in Congress, has helped pass major biosecurity legislation, assisted Kansas State and other Kansas schools in gaining federal research investments, leading to the Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI) at Kansas State (housed in Pat Roberts Hall). Finally, he led the state’s effort to compete and earn the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), a new federal laboratory to replace the aging federal plant and animal research facility at Plum Island.
Kansans also know Roberts as an advocate for the states’ military installations and those who serve in uniform. A former Marine, he played a key role in strengthening Kansas’ military missions despite nationwide base closings – bringing thousands of new jobs to Kansas. He is the most senior Marine in the Congress.
As chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee for four years, Roberts worked to improve intelligence gathering and analysis capabilities at a critical time in our nation's history. When concerns arose regarding the timing and accuracy of U.S. intelligence on pre-war Iraq, Roberts led the Intelligence Committee through one of the most sweeping and exhaustive reviews of U.S. intelligence ever conducted.
The bipartisan report, unanimously approved by the members of the Intelligence Committee, revealed systemic failures within the intelligence community. The review led Roberts to propose critical and forward thinking intelligence reforms. Many of his proposals were included in the 9/11 Intelligence Reform Act of 2004. In 2004, Roberts delivered the prestigious Landon Lecture at Kansas State University on national security topics.